It had been 6 years since the Teen Titans dispersed. I would like to say that it was because the world became quiet and no longer needed us, but, that would be a lie. And there is no reason for me to lie to you. The press was told on the day we officially disbanded that it was because the heroes that made up the group of young heroes were growing up and no longer teenagers. As such, they were offered the chance to join the Justice League of America which many were going to do. Others were going to slip into a quiet life and just raise a family.
Only a part of that was actually the truth. Because we had grown from teenagers to adults, the Justice League offered us memberships, and many were going to take them up on the offer, but there were still many that did not. And there was enough of that many that it was thought that the Titans could keep going.
But, with people from the teams missing, the teams lost their diversity in powers and ability causing the teams to fail as heroes. And there weren't enough people to fill in these gaps. It wasn't until it was too late when it was decided that the Titans couldn't function anymore. It wasn't until Aqualad, Mas y Minos, and Jericho who came together to form the new Titans East was killed in a battle that it was finally agreed upon.
That was when we came forth and declared that the Teen Titans would be no more. That was when we reveled to the world that members of the Titans had left for the Justice League. But, it didn't matter to the people anymore. The Teen Titans lost its popularity long before the announcement.
It took me 6 years to finally let this secret out, that I might as well reveal more about the Titans after the split. Cyborg and Starfire had taken the Justice League on their offer, as did Robin in much the similar fashion that Batman did. He told them that if they needed him, he will offer his help, but he will not be under their rule. He then left to become his own man, leaving behind the persona of Robin and taking up the name Nightwing. This left just Beastboy and I to stand as the lone remaining original Titans. This left just Beastboy and I to stand and lead the entire remaining group of teenage heroes.
Now the truth is out; the truth of our…no…my failure that lead to the death of 4 young heroes who just wanted to help the world.
Six years ago I was known as the half-demon sorceress, Raven. But, once the Teen Titans were disbanded I abandoned the name and took up a civilian life in Chicago, Illinois. Don't get me wrong, the Justice League offered me another chance to join after the announcement, but, after the disaster that was my leadership of the Titans, I felt that I didn't deserve to call myself a hero anymore. Now I work at the Chicago Tribune as a reporter. Just a word different then my previous occupation; instead of making the papers, now I write the papers. And I was pretty good at it, that I've been told. I've also taken up a new name, Rachel Roth.
Rachel was not Raven and Raven was not Rachel. When Rachel came to be, Raven ceased to exist. I don't know what happened to the part of me that had been Raven, it was like, when the Titan East was killed, Raven was force back into reality. She wasn't an almighty titan from the Greek myths that they took their name from. She was just a girl that was only running away from the fact that she was destined to do horrible things.
Maybe that was when it started to happen; after the defeat of Trigon. That might have been when Raven started to disappear and Rachel started to be created.
But I never spent much time dwelling on this thought. Now, Rachel was just queitly living out the remained of her life. Getting a job, making money, paying taxes, that was what Rachel's life consisted of. Men were sometimes apart of this existance, but they never stayed long. I was too intense and at the sametime, too detached. That was what the usual excuse was.
I dropped all contact with my previous team members before I took up my new name. I didn't even join society again until after the first year. I estimated that that would be how long it took for them to stop looking. My body's matured during this time, giving me a nice shape, I guess, and, with my job causing me to be out in the sun more, my skin has tanned abit. I'm still pale, by normal standards, but, at least I'm no longer inhumanly so. I've let my hair grow out more, usually arranging it to cover my chakra gem-seeing as most people find it odd and, as such, hinders my search for a job-but, it's still its natural purple color. I found no need to dye it seeing as I'm not one of those major reporters that are sent to interview heroes, and, as such, there is not much of a chance for them to find me. I was always glad that during battles I kept my hood up to hide my face.
It's not that I'm avoiding them, it's just that….well….actually…..I guess I really am just avoiding them. I failed as a hero…I failed them. I can't stand to face them….not after what happened. I know them too well. They'll claim they don't hold it against me, only because of our past together. But they would all secretly blame me. And that would be more painful than if they all abandoned me.
But that was another time…another life. Now I'm just Rachel. And Rachel had a job to do. That job was to attend a masquerade at a hall here in Chicago. It was a masquerade to raise money for orphanages. Isn't that ironic? A party where people hide behind masks for a charity trying to give children a face?
I dunned my gown which was a floor length deep blue gown. The sleeves hung off my shoulders and consisted of three bands, one just off my shoulder, one at my elbow, and one at my wrist that was connected by the cloth that hung down forming a sleeve that draped down to just above my knees if I let my arms hang at my sides. My mask was simpler; it covered my eyes in much the same way that Robin's did, just without the white, the color matched my dress and the ends fanned out. Red gems were placed near the ends that matched the chakra gem that I had on my forehead. I had also picked out a pair of black heels that wrapped around my foot.
As I walked up, I simply flashed my press pass at the man at the door before being let inside. The hall that was hosting this gathering was huge and luxurious, too much so for my taste. The high ceiling was painted up with a mural, the walls were a nice calm brownish, goldish color, and on the wall opposite of the entrance there was a stone archway that leads out into a terrace of sorts. Beyond that was a beautiful lake.
If it hadn't been for the fact that I was here to work, I would have preferred to spend the entire time out there as opposed to walking around and talking to a large number of people in a room that was filled with slow music, talking, and bodies. I've gotten better at talking with other people. I've even perfected talking with emotions without actually feeling anything. Yes, just because the heroine Raven was gone did not mean that her powers were gone as well; which meant I still had to meditate everyday and still had to keep my emotions in check. But, due to misuse, my powers are not as strong as Raven's used to be, nor am I as nimble as Raven was. But, seeing as I have no more use for them, I do not mind much.
As I explored deeper into the hall, the photographer that accompanied me left to take pictures. Donald was only a little older than I was, and pretty experienced when it came to photographs. He was my partener in most of the stories that I am given to do. This resulted in a mutual understanding between the two of us. He knew I didn't want him following me around like a lost puppy, so he left to do his work, leaving me alone to begin the interroga -err…interviews.
A lot of people I knew of were there; a few actors and actresses, the mayor and their spouses of a few towns, and several governors that knew each other along with, again, their spouses. Some people would give me their names (it was a masquerade after all, some people had masks so exuberant that I couldn't recognize them), but some just said they'd rather not. There was one, though, that really caught my attention. I approached him about an hour into the masquerade, and it started out just like the 137 other interviews that I had done, and I had figured it would be just like the 156 more that I had to do.
Grayson was taller than me by just under a head. His body was well toned, to say the least. His long, shoulder length hair was covered by a fedora that had three feathers in it. A red one that went straight back and two yellow feathers on either side of the red that curled outwards, creating a bird, effect on his hat. The tuxedo coat he wore was black and fit nicely over his broad shoulders to cover a red shirt underneath that matched the simple mask he wore to outline his shining blue eyes. His pants fit his frame nicely and continued onto stop just where they needed to, just above his shiny black shoes.
"Would you be willing to be interviewed for the Chicago Tribune?" I had asked, faking a cheerful note and a smile. I found that acting like a diztsy girl will yeild more results with a single man. Not that this came to any surprise to me when I figured it out years ago. It's hard for a man to open up when he's guarding what he says as to not appear dumb in comparison. It has something to do with pride, or, atleast that is was Donald explained to me when I confessed this observation to him one day.
"Only if that means I can talk with you." was his response. Don't get me wrong; what he said isn't what stood out. I'm a reporter. The number of jerks and drunken creeps that have said some variation of that has reached a number so high, I stopped counting. That was sometime after 364….and that was three years ago. No, what was said wasn't what caught my attention. It was how he said it.
He didn't make it sound like a cheap, overused pick-up line. He made it sound like he really meant it. And it caught me off guard for a moment before I pushed it to the back of my mind. Not like I would ever see him again after this anyways, best not to get attached.
"Yes, I would be the one interviewing you." I told him with a smile, trying to play it off as if I didn't notice what he meant. I did not want to encoarage any flirting that evening. I really did not have the time.
The man smiled, finding amusement out of something. The smile seemed to brighten up his person, but, in the very calming fashion. His blue eyes even seemed to gain a spark at this comment. It only added more to his aura of mystery. "Then ask away."
"What is your name as you would like it to appear in the paper? Or would you rather stay anonymous?"
"Grayson, G-R-A-Y-S-O-N." He said, spelling it out as I wrote it down in my small notebook that I always carried around when I left for the field. I fought back the urge to tell him that it wasn't that hard to figure out how to spell that.
"Okay…what is it that you do, Mr. Grayson?" I continued, trying to get the interview to continue so if could end.
"I worked with a very well known business man and am here in his stead." He responded in a very well mannered tone, though, he still made it clear that he'd rather keep his business out of the papers. I had to pursue this. Any chance to take that mischevious light from his eyes.
"And whom might that be? " I asked, still being very pleasant, still acting like I didn't notice his intent at the end of his last response.
"He'd probably not want the world to know that." Grayson responded with another amused smile, which caused my heart to skip a beat. I dropped my gaze from him to my notebook to write that in. Not that I needed to, mind you, but it gave me a moment to calm down before I faced him again.
"Then why is it that you came instead?" My cheerful facade was still in play.
"I asked him if I could." Grayson responded, still looking amused.
"…for any particular reason?" I asked when he didn't extend on what he said. Though, when his eyes failed to lose any of the amusment in them, I knew his was trying to get on my nerves.
"Because I'm looking for someone. Now, would you mind if I asked you a question?" He asked, is amusing aura calming to a sincere one.
I frowned, not sure what he could possibly want to know. "Ummm….sure."
"Would you like to dance? I'll answer all your questions as we do." He asked, his blue eyes focused on mine.
It was about then when I realized the feeling of suspicion that had been slowly building the whole time I had been talking to him. Something wasn't right, there was something he was getting at, and it wasn't just the usual gutter-minded events that most men usually tried for. But, when he held out his hand and I realized what was getting me so on edge. I knew him from somewhere. I couldn't quite place him, though. I took his hand, knowing that I could protect myself if it came down to that.
And, as he led me to the dance floor, he finally started to talk unbidden.
"I'm looking for a girl; someone, a really special friend of mine, whom I haven't seen in years. I have a feeling that I could find her here in Chicago." He continued before pausing as we turned to face each other. His hands wrapped around mine and his other went to my waist as my free hand when to his shoulder. Grayson started to lead the dance, moving slowly in time with the calm music.
"And what gives you that idea?" I asked, my sickly cheery tone gone for an even one, Greyson continued to lead us through the steps fluently. By this time, though, the music was fading into the background, my mind concentrating on him wholey, looking for any signs of a threat.
"It was just a theory, just an inkling, you could say." He said, continuing his calm speech, either unaware of my change from ditszy to alert, or he wasn't worried.
"You're making it sound like you found her." I responded, calmly, my body still following his leads, but my mind trying to get ahead of him. The hardest part was accepting that I already knew why he was telling me this story.
"I would like to think I have, Ms. Roth." The smile widen slightly. That was it. This was his objective. And it was one that I had hoped wasn't true. But, as he kept his hold on me, continuing his movements that I mimiced, my hope was dashed.
"How did you know my name?" I dropped all pretend kindness in my tone for a neutral tone with an under layer of warning. The warning of danger that I had sensed came back with a vengeance and I tensed up, ready to react.
Grayson didn't seem to notice any of this as he continued dancing with me, leading the two of us through the steps and through the dance floor in a calm, slow pace that no longer matched where our conversation was going…at least, where I had started to lead it to. But when he started to speak again, his voice was calm and his bright eyes stared into mine. It was like he failed to realize my warnings.
"She was beautiful when we were teens together. And she would move with such elegant confidence that I wondered if she always knew something more than I did. And her grace was only matched by the birds by which she took her name from. And, now, as an adult, that all only grew."
I was silent as his words started to hit home. It was worse then I had thought.
"Who are you looking for?" The words that tumbled out were laced in a slight wishful fear.
"Raven, I've missed you so much." He said with a smile, which dropped to a surprised expression when I suddenly pulled free, stopping the last bit of calm that happened between me and this familiar man. My mind ceasing all attempts to place him. I no longer wanted to know who he was. I just wanted to run.
"My name's not Raven." I told him as I quickly moved off the floor and into the crowd, my body moving to and fro with fluency that I had thought I lost with the lose of Raven. I managed through the large gathering quickly without inturrupting anyone. Something that I had thought Greyson, being broader than my slender form, would not beable to accomplish. I wouldn't say that I was running, but with the speed at which I was moving at, I might have well been. I didn't even notice where I was going when I walked under the arch and outside into the cool night air. I stopped only for a moment when the cool air hit me before I moved faster. I wasn't sure where I was going,but I had to get away from him.
"Wait!" He called as Grayson came after me, he caught my hand gently. I don't know why I stopped at the contact, but, I did, and I turned to him, my eyes meeting his for only moment before I dropped mine. I wasn't able to handle the pity that they held.
"It wasn't your fault, Raven." He said gently, causing me to have to fight back Raven's flashes of memory. Thier smiles...the times spent with them...thier hopes...thier blood...and them laying in a casket as it was being lowered int othe ground.
"I don't know what you're talking about." I told him coldly, wishing for him to disappear. I struggled to keep the memories at bay. My wall that I have built and maintained to separate me from them started to crumble. And that was the only thing that kept me together.
"Please don't run away from me anymore." He pleaded. His pity caused me to put up another face, another life. I had to keep that life. I had to hold onto Rachel. Raven wasn't able to handle it, but Rachel didn't have to.
"You have a hold on my hand, I can't." I told him, intentionally acting dumb. Intentionally acting like I didn't know what he was really getting at because, it was all I could do now to keep from breaking. I couldn't let my mask shatter.
"Please come back to me, Raven." He continued pleading desperately. My gaze remained fixed on the pavment we stood on.
"Raven ceased to exist six years ago." Even, cold, detached, that was how it came out sounding. It was my last effort to get him to stop. To shatter his pity.
He suddenly pulled at my hand, pulling me closer to him as he wrapped his arms around me before I knew what was going on. My chin finding a place on his shoulder. It was that moment that both Raven and Rachel became one. Both were little girls just trying to hide.
"I refuse to believe that." He whispered to into my ear as he regained his sly smile. I couldn't see how the smile curled his lips, I just felt it.
"Why are you looking for her?" The words just fell passed my lips. That was twice in under ten minutes. I didn't care anymore.
"I never got to tell her something important before she left." His voice was soft and his breath brushed by my ear in a way that caused a shiver to climb my spine.
"And what was that?" I asked, my own tone taking on the quiet calmness that his held.
His response was a pressure against my lips as his soft lips found mine. I should have pushed away, my hands went to his arm and chest with every intention of doing so. I should have pushed away, but I didn't. I did the worse thing I could have possibly done. I kissed him back.
I finally figured it out as our bodies pressed closer together as our lips kept pressed together. I had known the whole time who he was. And as his sweet taste filled my mouth I broke away to say,
"I'm sorry, Robin."
Hmmmm…what does she mean by that? Is she sorry for the fact that she disappeared for six years or could it be that she's rejecting him? You decide. And, since this is a oneshot, I don't plan on continuing. But, I am curious, what do you imagine happened next? Where do you think this went? Hey, maybe if I find your idea really intresting I might ask you to use it. OO! That would be cool! A diffrent chapter for a diffrent idea?